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JACQUES-MAYNES ROLLS THE DICE IN STAGE TWO

San Jose, Calif. (February 21, 2006) - As soon as the Amgen Tour of California announced that its second stage would finish in his hometown of San Jose, Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada's Ben Jacques-Maynes began preparations to leave his mark on the race.

And when the dust settled after 95 miles of racing over some of the most difficult terrain in the Bay Area, Jacques-Maynes could be proud of his aggressive ride in a 60-mile breakaway with TIAA-CREF's Michael Creed and Credit Agricole's Mads Kaggestad.

Jacques-Maynes related after the stage, “I went away on the KOM over Happy Valley Road and flew down the hill to bridge across to [Creed and Kaggestad]. We started cooperating immediately and the gap went wide open. The first time check we heard was 1'30" and then next was four minutes! We were pretty surprised that the gap went up to six minutes, but I wasn't surprised by how quickly it came down - I know how hard the ProTour teams can chase.”

Indeed, the Gerolsteiner-led field swept up the three leaders on the lower slopes of the Category 1 climb of Sierra Road, around 15 miles from the finish.

Said Racing Manager Jonas Carney, “The plan was to get Ben in an early break so he could take advantage of his knowledge of the local roads and get to the top of the climb before the heavy hitters. He didn't quite make it and they caught him pretty early on the climb, but the plan was executed perfectly. I'm happy with how Ben rode but against this level of competition you have to try everything. Most of the time you'll come up empty-handed but you have to keep trying and that's what we're doing.”

In the end, Jacques-Maynes finished 31st on the day, rolling into San Jose in the second group, 3'20” behind stage winner and overall leader George Hincapie (Discovery Channel). The Kodakgallery.com/Sierra Nevada rider now sits in 23rd overall going into tomorrow morning's time trial in San Jose.

Full results are available at amgentourofcalifornia.com




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